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Lydia Boesch

Comments at 1/23/01 GGNRA Advisory Commission Meeting

Hi, my name is Lydia Boesch. I've had the extraordinary pleasure and privilege the past year of representing the dog walkers at Fort Funston in all of this controversy and it has indeed been the most fun, fun case I've ever worked on in my life.

I wrote a speech, too; I'm not going to say it. But one thing I do want to give you first is when Leland Yee left here he was accosted by the hundreds of people outside and they gave him these tablets, these posters that they signed because they couldn't get in, and we've gone through and done a rough count and there's 600 signatures on here. They need to be a part of the record, but I want to make good and sure to whoever you ask me to give them to that we make an accounting of them and that they're safe.

The one thing I want to say is as an attorney for these people, you guys, I have studied the statute, I have studied the regulations, I have studied your internal policies, I have studied what the Department of Interior said, I have studied the documents with the transfer to the City, I know this stuff inside out and I respectfully disagree with any opinion you're getting that says that off-leash dog walking is illegal at Fort Funston. It absolutely is legal there. Every authority that I can find says that it is a legal, accepted activity at Fort Funston, and we've got to deal with that.

And you are here as our Citizens Advisory Commission, and you are here to work with us, and so, please don't just listen to what the U.S. attorney or the solicitor tells you because there is more than ample authority to support this as being a legal activity.

And like Linda McKay [said], we don't want to view you as the enemy. You know, the last year when this lawsuit started I went to Amy's house to deliver a letter, and we really were trying to work this out with you guys. And Amy told us that if we went to court, if we went to the media, that you guys would rescind our off-leash dog walking privileges. And -- Amy, I don't know if you realize it, but Amy, I confirmed it in writing -- and to me, that's a violation of our fundamental constitutional rights. Now I'm not saying that for the truth of the matter asserted, I'm saying it because we have seen that and we feel like you guys are against us and we don't want you to be against us. We want to work with you, and I think you can see from this, from this, there's ample support, there's ample enthusiasm for this issue. So thank you for listening and please be willing to work with us as we get through this.

Amy Meyer:

I think there's a matter of truth here. What I told you was, if this case of the Fort Funston, what has become the case of the Fort Funston Dog Walkers, came to a level of attention which brought in the U.S. Attorney and the media, and it came up to that level, you would probably lose the whole thing. This is in fact what has happened, that the U.S. Attorney said that what we had passed as a recommendation in 1978 is illegal and unenforceable. What we started this meeting with, but it could hardly be heard in the noise here, was that the policy recommendation we made is not here. It's gone.

Lydia Boesch:

But Amy, all of that was premised, and I'm sure you recall that when you had the hearings back then you said it's because walking dogs here is, that that works in an urban setting and that the general regulation didn't apply in an urban setting, and we agree with that and we're just trying to go from there to where we need to go. We think a Section Seven Special Reg is exactly what we need to do. But let's talk about it and let's work on it, let's don't let this be a one-sided thing.

Richard Bartke, Chair:

Okay, let's move on with the public hearing. Thank you very much. We'd like to receive those legal authorities because we have not received them yet.


[bold added for emphasis - Ed.]

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